Opening Call: The Australian share market is to open higher.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.7% higher, overcoming a midsession wobble amid gains by travel and mining stocks. Qantas, Corporate Travel Management, Flight Centre and Webjet added between 2.0% and 4.05% after Australia’s most populous state said it would no longer quarantine fully vaccinated international arrivals from next month. The ASX 200 finished 0.6% higher for the week.
U.S. stocks rose, notching their biggest weekly gains in months following a strong streak of earnings reports. The S&P 500 added 0.75% after rallying in its biggest one-day advance since March on Thursday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.1%, while the technology-focused Nasdaq Composite ticked up 0.5%. For the week, the S&P 500 was up 1.8%, its best showing since July. Solid quarterly results from healthcare companies and banks including Morgan Stanley and Citigroup have buoyed the market in recent days. Economic data have also helped reassure investors about the growth outlook.
Gold futures ended lower, as strength in Treasury yields and the U.S. stock market helped lead prices to their first loss in four sessions. But the precious metal still notched its best weekly advance in six weeks.
December gold fell nearly 1.7% to settle at $1,768.30 an ounce on Comex, after picking up 0.2% on Thursday and settling at the highest since Sept. 14, FactSet data show. For the week, gold gained 0.6%, which marked its steepest weekly climb since the week ended Sept. 3.
Oil futures extended their rise to multiyear highs, with the U.S. and global benchmark crude scoring an eighth weekly gain in a row – the longest such streak of gains for a front-month Brent contract in more than two decades. West Texas Intermediate crude for November delivery rose 1.2% to settle at $82.28 a barrel, with front-month prices marking their highest finish since Oct. 21, 2014, according to Dow Jones Market Data. December Brent crude, the global benchmark, rose 1% to $84.86 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe after hitting a session high above $85. Prices ended the session at their highest since Oct. 9, 2018.
Major currencies were weaker against the US dollar in European and US trade. The Euro fell from highs near US$1.1620 to lows near US$1.1590 and was near US$1.1600 at the US close. The Aussie dollar fell from highs near US74.40 cents to lows near US74.00 cents and was near US74.20 cents at the US close. And the Japanese yen eased from 113.93 yen per US dollar to a 3-year low of JPY114.45 and was near JPY114.20 at the US close.
European share markets closed higher on Friday. The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose by 0.7% – a 2.6% gain for the week and the best weekly gain in seven months. Banks led gains, up 1.8%,
following better-than-expected results from US lenders over the week. The German Dax index lifted by 0.8% and the UK FTSE index rose by 0.4%. In London trade shares in Rio Tinto fell by 1.4% after it cut its 2021 iron ore shipments forecast. Shares in BHP fell 0.1%.
Japanese stocks ended broadly higher, led by especially strong gains in electronics stocks, as the yen fell to its lowest level in nearly three years and amid continued hopes for economic reopening. The Nikkei Stock Average rose 1.8%, its highest level since November 2018.
Chinese stocks ended the session higher with coal and renewable-energy companies rising. Renewable-energy companies are facing tailwinds from continued policy support as China seeks to decarbonize. Coal producers, on the other hand, are likely benefiting from high coal prices as the country faces an energy crunch. The Shanghai Composite Index ended 0.4% higher, the Shenzhen Composite Index gained 0.1%, while the ChiNext Price Index rose 1.9% to 3276.32.